Mental Health & Addiction Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Practical Strategies for Front-line Providers

The book contains four sections covering a range of topics that service providers inquire about most often.

Part 1: Approaches and Interventions describes specific approaches to addressing the mental health and substance use challenges of youth experiencing homelessness. Topics include the community reinforcement approach and motivational enhancement therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness approaches, traumainformed care, ecologically based family therapy, and crisis response.

Part 2: Specific Groups reflects the diversity among youth experiencing homelessness. While many of the interventions and approaches described in this book may be relevant across groups, we need to pay attention to the unique needs of LGBTQ2S, Indigenous, newcomer, and black youth, as well as mothers with children in their care, and youth who are transitioning out of homelessness. We also discuss service providers as a specific group, one that needs support around preventing the burnout that is common in doing this challenging work.

Part 3: Contexts and Considerations focuses on where and how interventions are delivered. The two most common intervention contexts—drop-in centres and outreach—are the focus of the first two chapters. Other topics include supported employment, arts-based approaches, peer support, digital technologies for engaging youth, interagency partnerships, and interventions in developing countries.

Part 4: Assessment and Evaluation aims to support service providers who are increasingly required to provide outcome evidence in order to obtain funding and to inform service improvement and resource allocation. 

Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
Tyler Frederick, Stephen Gaetz, Jeff Karabanow, Sean Kidd, Natasha Slesnick